Sunday, January 26, 2014

Right Turns

We've all had them along the way. You are pretty sure you know where you are going, you have a plan (formal or in your head), and things are good. And then life gets in the way and we're faced with a new piece of information that is like a sharp right turn.
It could be a diagnosis (or prognosis).
It could be a relationship change that you didn't see coming.
It could be a job offer that you didn't expect but requires some risk -- and promise.
It could be a betrayal by someone you counted on.
It could be anything…

And when we are faced with an unexpected right turn -- we have to adjust. It's hard to stay on the same path when an obstacle or opportunity has jumped in front of you.

That's the case with this quilt.  I posted here about making this (or possibly up to four!) quilts for a young couple who is well into the process of adopting one (or more) children from Ethiopia. They have been presented with a right turn. Apparently there is some support for stopping all Ethiopian adoptions due to the success of the program over the years. As I understand it, they are no longer in a crisis situation with so many children in need of parents. That is  a good thing in many ways. But it's a right turn for this young couple.
Besides the financial investment, there is great emotional investment that I can't even begin to imagine. I have no idea where this stands and what this means for them. My teeny-tiny right turn when I heard this was that I should just put this project away and wait. So, I finished the blocks and decided on the layout, and put all the blocks and fabrics away until more is known.

I suspect we have all had "right turns" in our quilting lives that makes us stop and think about fabric, color, process, and creating.

It could be a health condition that forces us to do things differently.
It could be a financial situation that requires us to sell some of our quilts, fabric, or change jobs.
It could be the birth of a baby that makes everything else secondary.
It could be a loss of mojo that just won't come back and our passion is gone.
It could be anything.

So I've had the smallest of right turns with this project while this couple is dealing with the largest of right turns and what it could mean to their family. I can wait and repurpose. They can only wait and begin to wonder and think about what if….

I hope your quilting right turns are small ones like this -- whatever they may be.


Sunday, January 19, 2014


What to do?  My Christmas quilts are done.  My baby quilts for the hospital are done.  I don't have any deadlines that I need to meet. My 500+ HSTs for a swap are done and bagged.  I have three quilts cut out…

  • My wonderful Cherrywoods in a tote 
  • A One Block Wonder waiting.
  • Bonnie Hunter's mystery has all the parts done -- although I have no desire to work on it.
I wandered into the guest room where my Lollypop Tree blocks sit and unexpectedly decided that kind of color and process was just what I needed! I can't rush.  I can cover up with a quilt if I'm chilly.  I can stop whenever I need to.  Each element is a "completion".  I can work for five minutes or five hours if I want to.  And -- the Australian Open was starting last weekend and this makes for a "quiet" way to watch tennis (or at least replays).

It was the right decision.  It's been a good week and I have once again been reminded why I ordered this pattern within a week of happening upon it.  Many of you have read about this journey in other posts and I'll spare you the details again.  For those who are not familiar with Kim McLean and her marvelous patterns, here's a link to some eye candy that can take your breath away.
This quilt requires 16 blocks and each block takes me days to prep.  I am not fast.  The process I am using is not fast. I don't want to rush.  I want to enjoy the process of choosing all the different fabrics, cutting them, prepping them, and gluing them.  The color is just what the doctor ordered on a  gloomy winter's day.

I have four stitched and one more prepped.  Period.  That's it.   Right now it seems reasonable to think that I will spend a few days later this week prepping another block or two. Who knows what will seem reasonable later this week but for now, that's my plan and I'm sticking to it.  
I hope you are working on something that has wonderful colors and the process is as much fun as the completion!  


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Special K!

I am happy (sort of) to say that we are back from a wonderful week in Toronto and were lucky to be delayed only one day due to Mother Nature.  I will spare you the details of the drive back earlier this week but suffice it to say - the roads could have used a bit more attention.  Leaving is hard.  Always hard.  Our son.  Our daughter-in-law.  And, our "perfect" grandson -- and if you are a grammie, you know that all grandchildren are perfect.  So is ours!
What helped with leaving this week was the anticipation of meeting our new great-nephew who put in is appearance on Sunday!  Special K!  Loved him from the minute I heard my niece-the-athlete's voice informing me that I was now "officially" Grand Aunt Jan (GAJ for short).  I love my nieces to death and being a "great aunt" seemed like underachieving so I told them I wanted to be Grand Aunt Jan (and if you say that in with a Downton Abbey affectation, it sort of rhymes).  Nevertheless, I was anxious to meet another "perfect" grandchild.
This is the quilt that I made for my sister (the new grammie) for Christmas.  It is from strings that my niece-the-quilter gave me last year when she was cleaning out some of her scraps.  Most are about 1" wide and from various bright pre-cuts she used in making quilts for children in her life.  I had made a few blocks with them by actually piecing the string onto a pre-cut square.  I'm not sure I really like this method but it does provide stabilization and makes it easy to trim them down.
So -- this particular quilt is from my niece-the-quilter (altho she didn't know about it), mr iquiltforfun, and me.  And I have mentioned it on the blog a time or two but was unable to show the blocks because it was a Christmas secret.
The backing (and this is a dreadful picture) is from a cut of fabric (beautiful pink fuchsias on a vibrant blue background in real life) that I bought in Hawaii when the new mommy and daddy got married two years ago.  The binding is a bright pink (yes, I know it's a boy!) Indian batik that the new parents gave me for a birthday.  And the strings are all from the new aunt -- along with some that I added to increase the significance of the quilt.
Besides a piece of Christmas fabric from my mother's fabrics (it's really not very pretty but it needed to be in there!), I have added at least one strip from every fabric that I received for my 60th birthday.  I have written about that quilt here if you want more detail.  This remains one of the (if not the) most special quilts I have because of the significance of each piece of fabric.
So baby K's grammie has a quilt for when he comes to visit.  Can't wait to see him in his stroller in the neighborhood this spring or laying on the quilt on his little belly in a few months.  New babies bring us so much joy!  And so does sharing our love of quilting with those who appreciate it.  Life is good.

I hope you are starting 2014 off with lots of joy in your life!